Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office will begin using new technology designed to keep people with invisible and visible conditions and disabilities safe
APRIL 3, 2019 (MINNEAPOLIS) – The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office today announces that deputies will begin using the Vitals™ First Responder App in April. The Vitals™ App provides first responders with crucial information about vulnerable individuals, increasing the effectiveness of situational response and vastly expanding the potential for successful and safe resolutions. Vitals™ enrollees, or their family members, voluntarily provide the individualized information in this cutting-edge program revolving around technological innovation.
“We are actively looking for ways to better respond to people with disabilities that we may encounter,” said Hennepin County Sheriff David P. Hutchinson. “Vitals™ will help us do our jobs even better. “My vision is for Hennepin County deputies to use 21st century technology as a way to enhance their interactions with people who are vulnerable. We look forward to this partnership with Vitals™. We will use this technology to help keep our residents safe and help engage the county’s diverse communities on the topics on mental health and cognitive disabilities and conditions.”
Hennepin County has a population of approximately 1.3 million and more than 35 municipalities. Law enforcement responded to 1,660 mental health crisis calls in 2017, according to state public health data. More than 280,000 Hennepin County residents qualify for social services supporting mental health, intellectual, developmental, and behavioral conditions and disabilities, as well as elderly services.
“We are excited about adding Hennepin County to our growing list of locations. Our goal is to serve as many people as we can. Working with the largest county in Minnesota will help us reach thousands of people who can benefit from this new technology,” said Janeé Harteau, president of Vitals™ Aware Services.
Hennepin County joins Dakota County, the state’s third largest county, and Crow Wing County as sheriff offices that have implemented Vitals™ countywide. In its first year and a half, Vitals™ has expanded from a pilot program in St. Paul to now serving more than 60 public safety agencies.
Vitals™ is providing its service free of charge to people living with various conditions and disabilities. To sign up, text “vitals” to 797979, open the link and fill out the form. Registration can also be completed on the website – www.thevitalsapp.com
About Vitals™ Aware Services
Vitals™ works by equipping first responders with information voluntarily provided by Vitals™ enrollees. Law enforcement and other first responders download the Vitals™ First Responder app on their cellphones. The service allows a vulnerable person to register online, then wear a beacon that takes the form of a keychain, necklace, debit card or bracelet. An Android phone can also serve as the beacon. When a Vitals™ user comes within 80 feet of an officer or first responder equipped with the service, the officer will get a notification about the person’s diagnosis and how they may best interact with them.
Look for more news on the Hennepin County Sheriff’s website at http://www.hennepinsheriff.org.